Top bureaucratic reshuffle at Secretary level postings in central government

Newsroom24x7 Desk

north blockNew Delhi : In a major reshuffle, as many as a dozen of Secretaries have been appointed in various central government ministries and other organizations, including ministries like Telecom, IT and Minority Affairs. Telcom Secretary Rakesh Garg has been moved to Minority Affairs ministry. This move has come ten months ahead of his retirement.

The existing post of Telecom Secretary has been filled by another inter-ministerial transfer, wherein, J S Deepak, 1982 batch IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, has been appointed as the new Secretary, Department of Telecommunications. Deepak is at present serving as Secretary, Department of Electronics and Information Technology.

Garg, a 1980 batch IAS officer, has been appointed Secretary in Minority Affairs Ministry in place of Amarendra Sinha, who is holding additional charge of the post, an order issued on Friday by Personnel Ministry said, without mentioning the reason for Garg’s exit from the high-profile ministry. He had taken over as Telecom Secretary on July 17, 2014 and is due to retire in November this year.

Madhya Pradesh cadre IAS officer Dr. Aruna Sharma, at present working in her cadre state — Madhya Pradesh, has been appointed as Secretary, Department of Electronics and Information Technology, as she replaces J S Deepak there.

As many as 10 new Secretaries have been appointed in various central government ministries and other organisations. Krishan Kumar Jalan, who is Central Provident Fund Commissioner in Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation, has been appointed as Ministry of Labour and Employment Secretary, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. Shobhana K Pattanayak has been made the new Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, in place of Siraj Hussain, on his superannuation in the end of this month.

The detailed list of appointments made by Government of India is as follows –

J S Deepak , Indian Administrative Service , UP , 1982
Dr Aruna Sharma , Indian Administrative Service , MP , 1982
Shobhana K Pattanayak , Indian Administrative Service , KN , 1982
Avinash K Srivastava , Indian Administrative Service , UP , 1982
Dr Krishan Kumar Jalan , Indian Administrative Service , HY , 1982
Dr Vinod Agrawal , Indian Administrative Service , JH , 1980
Dr Shyam S Agarwal , Indian Administrative Service , RJ , 1980
Arun Jha , Indian Administrative Service , BH , 1981
Rakesh Garg , Indian Administrative Service , UP , 1980            
Amit Chatterjee , Others , 0
G. GopalaKrishna , Others
V.V.R Sastry , Others
M. Bhagavantha Rao , Others
Girish Kumar Ahuja , Others
Archana Ravindrai Dholakia , Others
Pushpendra Rai , Others
Radha R.Sharma , Others
Satyanarayana Dash , Others
Atanu Sen , Others            
Gurdeep Singh , Others , 0                            

Dubai all set to showcase the grand Moscow State Circus

Shaily Kalra

Moscow state circusDubai: This coming month (February 10 to 13) Dubai, the global city and business hub of the Middle East, will host the unique show “UFO Circus from Another Planet” to be presented by the famous Zapashny brothers.

A special highlight of the Zapashny Brothers’ show will be a flying spaceship measuring 11 meters wide. Also on show will be several new and interesting elements like aliens and miraculous creatures, the circus will also have jugglers, gymnasts, acrobats, and tightrope walkers.

This show has already been viewed by more than 250,000 people in Europe. According to the organizers, the music and lights especially created and designed for this show will leave the Dubai audience spellbound. The extraordinary show to be performed by extremely talented performers will upgrade the level of circus to new heights, it is being emphasized..

Tickets for the Grand Moscow State Circus to be held at Dubai Trade Centre are available online at

List of 20 would-be smart cities released

Newsroom24x7 Desk

Smart cityNew Delhi : The union government is aggressively working on its dream project of developing Smart Cities in the country. In a move which takes the project a step further, centre has identified and released the top 20 Smart Cities list on Thursday. These shortlisted cities, with Bhubaneswar at the top, have been finalized through a ‘challenge’ (read competition) among the 97 contenders.

The scheme of going forward with this program is thus — each selected city would be given Rs 500 crore over a period of five years by the Centre with the respective states expected to make the matching contribution. Selection of these cities would be accomplished on factors, such as – implementation framework, feasibility and cost-effectiveness, result-orientated approach, citizen participation, smartness of proposal, strategic plan, vision and goals, evidence-based city profiling and key performance indicators and processes followed to reach to fulfilling the criteria. Each of these parameters have been allotted points, which would be summed up and the math would be thus worked out.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi failed to make it to the list. Reason — Varanasi ranked way down at 96th position, only ahead of Dehradun which stood at the bottom of the list. However, BJP and associated parties, which constitute a part of NDA-led government in centre, have found place in selection at their respective state-ruled governments too, as 10 cities that have been picked belonged to states ruled by the PM Narendra Modi-led NDA government.

Pune, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bhopal as also the NDMC area of Delhi feature in the select list. Cities of Jaipur, Surat, Kochi, Jabalpur, Visakhapatnam, Solapur, Davanagere, Indore, Coimbatore, Kakinada, Belagavi, Udaipur, Guwahati and Ludhiana are the other cities selected in the first batch. Eventually, an alltogether of 100 cities are to be developed into Smart Cities as per Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious program. For this, the Centre has earmarked Rs 48,000 crore and the states will have to contribute an equal amount.

The Smart Cities program sounds promising on features like — strong infrastructure with water and power supply, sanitation and solid waste management systems, efficient urban mobility and public transportation, IT connectivity, e-governance and citizen participation.

Money lending scenario in Indian banks – home is where the money is !

Newsroom24x7 Desk

homes in indiaNew Delhi : Money lending scenario in Indian banking industry, which has been witnessing a slow momentum from the corporate clientele is showing a trend of pick up, as demand for home loans are nudging a tad higher and building up expectations for Indian banks to strengthen mortgage lending in home-sector. With India’s banks, struggling to boost mainstay corporate loans, the emerging home loan datasheet suggests of a fillip in the home-buying spree, especially in the second tier towns that has driven mortgage-loan growth to the fastest rate in at least six years.

Top lender State Bank of India (SBI and Co.), and two big private sector giants – ICICI Bank and Axis Bank sound optimistic on grounds that smaller cities and such home-demand centres in the country have contributed towards a swell in overall home-loans books. Data supports the claim as outstanding home loans in India stood at $103 billion as at end-November.

This scenario is an outcome of banks adopting a well-planned strategy — wherein, attention and focus has shifted from corporate clients to private customers (read individuals). This change of focus has found strategic alliance between the lenders (banks) and the borrowers (individuals), and has helped in building back on the eroded base, vacuumed by corporate disinterest.

Banks, having base in Indian soil, are focusing on lending to individuals to counter a sluggish corporate-loan market that has been hit by a three-year long slowdown in Asia’s third-largest economy. Advantage — many. To begin with — One — lending is on, albeit decreasing corporate demand. Two — low number of defaulters, as Home loans more often than not, present lower bad-debt risks for the banks than corporate loans, as supported by data. Third — Tier-2 cities which are picking up and walking hand-in-hand along with infrastructure growth story, enable banks to expand laterally on their loan-lending books, without having to shell out very high amount per client, as tier-2 cities comparably are more affordable for investment vis-a-vis biggies in the likes of metros and A-class cities.

SBI alone expects an 18 percent growth in home loans for this fiscal year ending in March, against 14 percent growth for overall credit. According to CGM (Chief General Manager, real estate lending) of SBI, Jayanthy Laxmi — Tier 2 cities are picking up…Connectivity, affordability and rising employment are helping them to grow faster.

Infrastructure is atan overall high on expectations, as rising income levels, increasing urbanization, lower mortgage interest rates over the past year and easier capital regulations for loans to mid-segment home buyers are driving demand for housing units in India. Analysts are ready to bet on numbers, and projections are brimming with optimism. Some forecast that India would need 110 million new houses by 2022, thanks to PM Modi’s ‘housing for all’ vision. Banks too are filling the hope-pit and supporting it with data, as central bank data shows housing loans during April-November grew 12.2 percent, their fastest pace in at least six years, and accounted for nearly a third of total loans made. By comparison, credit to industry, which includes corporate loans, was up just 0.4 percent.